Friday, August 17, 2012

Wednesday Evening, August 15, 2012

It was sunny with a slight offshore breeze.  The water was 59 degrees and has become cloudy with plankton.  There were a few pelicans diving on the east side of the pier but there was no organized feeding going on.  There were 2 or 3 Humpback whales in pretty close, between the Avila Rock and the buoy line.  Rob's friend Cliff was going to join us.  Cliff has multiple channel crossings (Catalina 2X, English Channel once) and was interested in seeing what swimming is like here.  Dave had come by to relax on the beach so he and Cliff had lots of channel swim stuff to talk about.  We decided to go in on the east side of the pier, cross under, do the west half of the triangle and decide if we wanted more when we were at the end of the pier.  Allison would accompany us in her kayak.  When we grouped up at the end of the pier Allison pointed out a whale that was close by, off of the end of the pier.  This is the first time I have seen a whale while swimming!  We decided to head in towards the middle of the buoy line on the east side, swinging wide to avoid the fishing lines from the pier.  While we were drying off a large flock of birds came around the end of the pier from the west.  they just kept coming and began feeding on some bait fish near the buoy line.  The birds just kept arriving until this was the largest bait boil I have seen, covering almost the length of the buoy line and from the buoys in to the sand.  I could see a dozen or more seals and a whale working the fringes of the bait ball.  We were able to walk down to the water and pick up small fish, 4" or 5" long (sardines, smelt?) that were being washed up on the shore.  People were lining the railing along Front Street to watch the spectacle.  I'm very glad that we were already out of the water. 
I'll be back on Sunday.  Rob will be in Long Beach for the Naples Island Swim this weekend.
Cliff's wife, Cliff, Rob, Allison and Niel just before the birds arrived.

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